Fairytales played an important role in my childhood. I was only five when I learned to read, and since then books were never far away from me. My parents read me good-night stories, but I especially remember the sweet nights when grandma/bestemor Ragna Josefine and grandpa/bestefar Johannes came to visit. If I went to bed before they left, grandpa always read me a story. Or drew a picture. Or did the combination of both which was the absolutely best thing which could happen.
My grandparents were teachers. Bestefar (best father) Johannes was a headmaster, bestemor (best mother) Ragna was an art&craft teacher. During my childhood they lived in the school where they both worked, and when we gathered there for family parties, we (I, my smaller brothers and a bunch of cousins) were sent up in the attic to the classroom there to play. Our favorite game was to jump from desk to desk chasing each other. And when we tired of that we pulled down the map of the world which then filled the front wall of the classroom, and traveled to exotic places.
Bestefar Johannes did not have a hand for drawing, something he missed terrible. One day he decided to teach himself to draw - after all he was the headmaster. He limited his skills to two different motives, which he practiced untill perfection - a pig and a witch. How we grandchildren loved his fat, cute pig, and dreaded the ugly witch with a tree growing on the tip of her nose. In my imagination the witch became alive, and I remember a dream I had once where I met her. The only nightmare from my childhood.
Every year at May 17, the Norwegian Constitutional Day, we met bestemor and bestefar downtown after the children's parades. Our goal was the tivoli which visited our town. Bestefar's destination was the tombola stands where he didn't leave untill he had won the biggest teddybear for one of his grandchildren. He had 21! One teddybear every year.
In the photo I am three, holding hands with bestemor and bestefar on our way to the tivoli. Sweet memories came back to me today while eating a piece of Anthon Bergh's Fairytale chocolate.